TitleSerum biochemistry panels in African buffalo: Defining reference intervals and assessing variability across season, age and sex.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCouch, CE, Movius, MA, Jolles, AE, M Gorman, E, Rigas, JD, Beechler, BR
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2017
KeywordsAfrica, Age Factors, Animals, Buffaloes, Female, Male, Pregnancy, Reference Values, Seasons, Sex Factors

Serum biochemical parameters can be utilized to evaluate the physiological status of an animal, and relate it to the animal's health. In order to accurately interpret individual animal biochemical results, species-specific reference intervals (RI) must be established. Reference intervals for biochemical parameters differ between species, and physiological differences including reproductive status, nutritional resource availability, disease status, and age affect parameters within the same species. The objectives of this study were to (1) establish RI for biochemical parameters in managed African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), (2) assess the effects of age, sex, pregnancy, and season on serum biochemistry values, and (3) compare serum biochemistry values from a managed herd to a free-ranging buffalo herd and to values previously published for captive (zoo) buffalo. Season profoundly affected all biochemistry parameters, possibly due to changes in nutrition and disease exposure. Age also affected all biochemical parameters except gamma glutamyl transferase and magnesium, consistent with patterns seen in cattle. Sex and reproductive status had no detectable effects on the parameters that were measured. The biochemical profiles of managed buffalo were distinct from those observed in the free-ranging herd and captive buffalo. Biochemical differences between buffalo from captive, managed, and free-ranging populations may be related to nutritional restriction or lack of predation in the context of management or captivity. The reference intervals provided in this study, in addition to the seasonal and age-related patterns observed, provide a foundation for health investigations that may inform management strategies in this ecologically and economically important species.

Alternate JournalPLoS One
PubMed ID28472180
PubMed Central IDPMC5417560